Local councils: PN may have normalised support levels

JAMES DEBONO compares the 2015 local councils election results with the same 34 councils contested back in 2007 and 2008, when the PN was nationally stronger and turnout was higher than in 2012

PN Local Council Gains 2015 by maltatoday

A comparison of the results of the latest round of local elections with elections held in the same localities in 2007 and 2008 shows the PL improving its position by just one percentage point. But a more detailed analysis suggests that in the past decade the PL has solidified its hold in the south west of Malta and has built a new majority in a number of Gozitan localities. 

Elections in these localities were last held in 2012 when turnout had dropped to just 58% and the PL ended up winning by a 17 point margin. 

The elections were characterised by a very low turnout, especially in PN-leaning localities, and were held just a year before the PL won national elections by a 12 point margin.  

Elections in the same 34 localities were previously held in two separate rounds in 2007 and 2008 when Alfred Sant was still leader of the PL. 

In 11 localities local elections were held on the same day as the 2008 general elections – which were won by the PN by a whisker. In these localities turnout was considerably higher than both 2012 and 2015.

On the other hand turnout in 2007 was similar to that in 2015 but varied considerably from locality to locality, with many PN-leaning localities reporting a lower turnout than in 2015. 

A detailed comparison indicates that over the past eight years Labour has made impressive gains in Gozo and the south-west while the PN is now stronger in its own heartlands and is more competitive in some southern localities.

In many Maltese localities like St Paul’s Bay the PN has improved its position over 2012 but is still considerably weaker than it was in 2007 or 2008.

A comparison with the 2007 and 2008 rounds of elections shows that the PN is stronger now than it was in  Birzebbugia, Mosta, Hamrun, Attard, Swieqi, Balzan, Sta Lucija and Marsaxlokk.  

But the PN is considerably weaker than it was in localities like Zurrieq, Zebbug, Siggiewi, St Paul’s Bay, Marsa, Safi, Luqa and Dingli.

Both parties have retained roughly the same in strength in Qormi, Floriana and Gharghur.

In Gozo the PN is slightly stronger in Kercem and San Lawrenz but has seen a massive decline in Qala. Nadur, Xaghra, Munxar and Zebbug.  

Qala has seen the greatest shift between the two parties since 2007. In the locality the PL has gained an impressive 23 points while the PN has lost 25 points.  

One locality where the PN seems to have made inroads is Birzebbugia. Compared to eight years ago Labour has lost four points while the PN has gained five points. 

In Mosta, where turnout has increased by five points over 2007, the PN has gained six points while Labour has lost four.  

In Marsaxlokk, where an independent candidate also contested the 2007 election, both parties have gained ground. While the PN has increased its support by four points, the PL is now five points stronger.  

In Attard, where turnout has increased by 12 points over 2007, Labour has lost three points and the PN has increased its support by three points.

In Swieqi, where turnout has remained the same as in 2007, the PN has gained eight points while Labour has gained two. This suggests that AD voters (10% in 2007) mostly shifted towards the PN in 2015.  

In San Giljan turnout has dropped by a high 21 points since 2008.

In this locality the PN loses one point. 

The largest drop in turnout when compared to 2008 took place in St Paul’s Bay where a 28 point drop in turnout shows the PN losing seven points. 

Nadur and Siggiewi are two localities where a shift from PN to PL can be detected.

Compared to 2008 Nadur has seen a seven point drop for the PN and an eight point rise for the PL. In Siggiewi the PL has gained five points while the PN has lost five points. 

In Zebbug (Malta) turnout last week was nine points lower than in 2008. 

The novelty of the election was the presence of an AD candidate who won 3%.

In this locality the PN ended up losing five points over 2008 while the PL gained two points. This suggests that compared to 2008 the PN lost three points to AD and only two points to Labour. 

More in Data & Surveys